The Impacts of COVID-19 on Driving, Traffic, and Auto Repair
Since December of 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of every one of us. Stay-at-home orders caused a suspension in normal life, closing down all non-essential businesses and activities. Those who could transition to a full-time remote work schedule did, and those who continued to go to work physically took major precautions. This adjustment in our lifestyles majorly reduced vehicle traffic on the road, vehicle sales, and the regularity within the auto collision repair industry as a whole. As vaccines became more readily available, businesses re-opened with fewer restrictions. With this, auto sales are at an all-time high, even though many workers have transitioned to an indefinite remote schedule. So, how has COVID-19 changed driving, traffic, and auto repair? Let’s find out.
COVID-19’s Impact on Auto Sales
According to CarSalesBase, vehicle sales dropped 14.53% in 2020 in comparison to 2019 in the United States. Looking at the data from Statista.com, vehicles sales hit their largest slump in April of 2020 and stayed soft through the end of the year. March, April, and May of 2021 hit monthly sales volumes similar to the average in 2019, but June and July softened with the dip in inventory availability and concerns related to additional COVID-19 variants.
According to a recent study published by the New York Times, the market is passing 2019 levels and car dealerships are selling vehicles far before they even hit the lot. A shortage in computer chips needed to manufacture modern vehicles has reduced the available inventory while government stimulus and low-interest rates have increased auto buyer behaviors. Many dealers are even offering additional incentives to former customers to buy back their vehicles to help replace their depleted inventory. As of July 2021, used vehicle sales are up about 45 percent.
COVID-19’s Impact on Driver Safety and Traffic
If you happened to venture out of your home during April 2020 and in multiple months following, you likely noticed the major reduction in vehicle traffic. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, in April of 2020 the miles driven by US drivers dropped 40%. With the reduction in traffic came the reduction in driving violations and accidents. But, even with these reductions, according to the National Safety Council, there was a 20% increase in the traffic death rate between January and June of 2020 in comparison to 2019. This increase seems to be driven by an increase in DUI violations and major speeding cases. Major speeding almost tripled as a percentage of total violations and DUIs increased majorly, especially in the early months within the pandemic.
When looking at 2020 as a whole, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated a 7.2% increase in auto accident deaths from 2019, despite driver miles decreasing by about 13.2%. This caused the highest fatality rate in the US for auto accidents since 2007. Through May of 2021, according to NSC.org, vehicle accident deaths are up 21% in comparison to 2020 and 19% in comparison to 2019. Through May of 2021, auto-related accidents only decreased in 5 states, with Colorado not being on that list. As a Colorado local auto collision repair facility, we recommend that Colorado drivers take additional precautions as the auto accident and death rates continue to stabilize to pre-COVID-19 levels.
COVID-19’s Impact on Auto Collision Repair Facilities
Like many other industries, the Auto Collision Repair industry was negatively impacted during the pandemic. With fewer vehicles on the road, fewer vehicles needed servicing and repair. Alongside this, many of us were more likely to hold onto cash vs. spend the money necessary to repair vehicles, homes, and other more expensive items. Every month, more and more drivers are on the road, and with the increase in auto accidents has come the increase in auto repair demand.
According to Acumen Research and Consulting, the auto collision repair industry is expected to grow around 5.5% from 2021 to 2028. With an increase in vehicle demand and distracted, risky drivers come an increase in auto collision repair demand. The challenge that auto collision repair facilities face today and will continue to face will be increased liability resulting from faulty repairs performed without OEM information or training. Vehicle safety continues to improve at a fast rate, meaning auto body shops have to stay connected, trained, and in tune with these enhancements.
At Colorado Coach Auto Body, our auto repair technicians are consistently trained on OEM standards for all major auto manufacturers and hold certifications from Audi, BMW, Tesla, Subaru, Volkswagen, and many more. As our lives continue to adapt from the pandemic, we promise to do our part in keeping drivers safe on the road.